Akihabara started out as a fire-buffer zone.
"Akihabara" is widely known throughout the world as a town of electric goods and "otaku" culture. A growing number of tourists from abroad have come to visit there in recent years, and some people simply call it "Akiba." The formal name of the place is Akihabara, Taito-ku, Tokyo, but the surrounding area, including Soto Kanda, Kanda Saku-cho, Kanda Hanaoka-cho, Kanda Aioi-cho, and Kanda Neribei-cho of Chiyoda-ku, is generally called Akihabara.
The Emperor Meiji, who was shocked by the big fire of Tokyo that engulfed the area in the 2nd year of his reign in 1869, ordered the construction of a shrine for fire prevention or "Chinka no yashiro" in the area of the present day JR Akihabara Station.
The shrine was widely worshipped as the deity of fire prevention by the people of Tokyo, who called it "Akiba Daigongen." Later they started to call the area "Akiba no hara" or "Akibappara."
After the opening of Akihabara Station in 1890, the place began to be called by the present name of Akihabara. It became known as "electric quarter" after World War II. In 1945, shops opened under the overpasses of Sobu Line, selling radio parts.
They mainly catered to students of Denki Gakko (currently Tokyo Denki University). They sold rare parts used by the military. That is the beginning of Akihabara as the town of electric goods.